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The Walleye Houdini Act
By Backwater Eddy

Ever have walleye pull a Houdini act on you, something changed, but what?

A good bite and then BAM, which way did they go, which way did they go?

Two trends that I see in walleye aggressiveness, or lack there of, are generally traced back to environmental changes, or predatory security threats.

Environmental changes such as intense high's or low's may triger or stifle a bite. Indicators may be easy to spot such as a storm front or more subtle like forage movements. Forage movements may consist of fresh water shrimp in the hole, or school's of smalle perch high off bottom, an indication to were predators now need to be in order to feed successfully.

Security changes are often traced to predator's cruising the area, big hungry pike, or big hungry man just being too darn noise for instance. By paying attention to these clues you may get back in the game if you adapt. All clues, but to what?

Both influences may often be best dealt with by moving to a like structural area near by and start anew. Sometimes this is not handy so a more subtle presentation may be the best answer.

A struggling baitfish on or just off the bottom often turns lookers into hookers. The jigging style called "Bottom Upping" can triger reluctant looker's into feeders. This style is presented by selecting a non-aggressive style jig such as a Rocker Minnow, and tipping it with a whole live minnow.

Carefully hook the minnow just under the dorsal fin toward the head just under the skins surface. By doing this you keep the bait active but contained and vulnerable, walleye like that, vulnerable meal's, an easy target.

This "Bottom Upping" presentation can be done on a slow lift drop tickle the mud routine, or my person favorite a dead stick with no bobber right on the bottom. A good dead stick is long and flexible with a bit of fish fighting power. Some dead sticks may be up to 42" long and very flexible. Thorn Bro.'s make a heck of a great dead stick! Well worth a look in my book. A dead stick requires a secure rod holder that is easy to use in all conditions. There are several good choices including pail mount systems. Just placing a dead stick on the ice or off a corner of a pail is inviting trouble, the holders are worth the investment.

Pairing this neutral method with a more aggressive jigging presentation near by may pull the lost fish in like a barker at a circus. Now hit them with the old magician's trick, bait and switch. The wondering walleye may not want the aggressive presentation but look here, a helpless vulnerable bystander, sucker! CHOMP!

Changing conditions often mean trial and error, but this plan often heats up a cold bite.

Much like deer hunting a change in the wind may change your fortune telling you your game is up, time for plan "B". Very frequently the same may be true of environmental stress or changes on the ice or under it. Be aware of activity on your electronics even if it is too high off bottom or too small to be your target fish, odds are it may be your target fish's target? Same may be true of there being nothing to see, seeing nothing but water usually spells bottom huggers.

Unlike a magician walleye seldom disappear, it may only be a illusion? Now do some magic yourself on a lost bite and go pull a walleye out of your hat.


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